YouBit exchange

YouBit, a South Korea-based cryptocurrency exchange, has filed for bankruptcy and will shut down later today after getting hacked for the second time this year.

The Bitcoin and Ethereum exchange is set to cease operations at 12:00 PM, local time, on December 19, 2017, which is just under an hour after this article's publication.

YouBit hacked twice this year

The exchange announced this decision after suffering another hack earlier this month. YouBit did not say how many funds the attackers stole, but said it lost 17% of its total assets.

The company lost another 4,000 Bitcoins ($5,5 million then, $74 million today) earlier in the spring in a hack that South Korean authorities blamed on North Korean hackers. At the time, the company was going by its previous name of Yapizon.

In an announcement posted yesterday on the YouBit website, the exchange said it would allow users to withdraw 75% of their funds, while the rest will be returned, if possible, after the bankruptcy proceedings.

South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges targeted all year

Most of the exchange's customers are from South Korea, which is the country with the most widespread Bitcoin adoption in the world. In the grand scheme of things, YouBit was a small exchange, nowhere near as big as Bithumb, the world's fourth-largest cryptocurrency exchange, also the primary place where most South Koreans trade their digital coins.

Bithumb, too, suffered a hack earlier in the year, in June, when hackers stole an unknown amount of Bitcoin and Ethereum. The hack affected 3% of the exchange's entire userbase.

South Korean police blamed on all incidents on North Korean hackers. Cyber-security firms such as FireEye and SecureWorks have recently pointed out an increase in activity from North Korean hackers targeting cryptocurrency exchange platforms. Experts speculated that North Korean hackers are stealing digital currencies to evade financial sanctions and fund the state or personal coffers of Pyongyang's elite.

Article updated to highlight the fact that Yapizon rebranded as YouBit after the first hack.

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